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Poster: SocialismFor America Date: Sep 3, 2004 1:09pm
Forum: election_2004 Subject: Building Anew: 1973-Present

SINCE 1973, the Socialist Party USA has focused its attention more on grassroots and local politics, and has dealt with the controversial issue of presidential politics on a case-by-case basis. Due to America's restrictive and often undemocratic ballot access laws (which have made it almost impossible to break the two-party monopoly on national politics), the party views the races primarily as opportunities for educating the public about socialism and the need for electoral democracy in the U.S.
In 1976, the Socialist Party USA ran a presidential campaign for the first time in 20 years; the candidates were Frank P. Zeidler, former Mayor of Milwaukee, for President and J. Quinn Brisben, a Chicago school teacher, for Vice President.
J. Quinn Brisben

In 1980 the Socialist ticket was David McReynolds, a pacifist on the staff of the War Resisters League, and Sister Diane Drufenbrock of the Order of St. Francis. One outcome of that campaign was the Party's recognition by the FEC as a political party nationwide in scope. In 1984 there was an ill-fated attempt to form a coalition with the Citizen's Party; when it failed the time was too late to mount a Socialist Party campaign. In 1988, the party chose again to nominate a Presidential slate. Willa Kenoyer, a journalist, and Ron Ehrenreich, a credit union officer and university lecturer, were chosen as the candidates for President and Vice President. In 1992, the SP nominated J. Quinn Brisben for President and union organizer Bill Edwards for Vice President. Sadly, Edwards died suddenly during the race, whereupon the Party chose author and playwright Barbara Garson as the new Vice Presidential candidate.

In 1996, the SP nominated activist and special education teacher Mary Cal Hollis for President and author and economics professor Eric Chester for Vice-President. Due in part to frustration with the free-trade and anti-labor successes of Democratic President Bill Clinton, the end of the Cold War and the advent of the Internet, this election saw an influx of newer, younger members. This wave of new activists brought the party to a size and level of activity not seen since before "Realignment."

As the Socialist Party USA celebrates over 100 years in struggle, new members and activists are coming on board to help build a new vision of democratic socialism for the 21st century. Our recent electoral efforts have involved running our own candidates at the Congressional as well as community level (Karen Kubby, Socialist councilwoman in Iowa, won her re-election bid in 1992 with the highest vote total in Iowa City history), running SP members as coalition candidates with other independent left and progressive groups, and supporting Socialist as well as progressive candidates in a variety of races nationwide. The SP is slowly but surely regaining "party" status in states across the country.

We know it's not easy, but it never has been. And just think, without us, things would only be worse. The struggle continues, and if you see yourself as part of that struggle, for socialism and democracy in our time, we invite you to join us.

I personally think a parties history dipicts alot about the present. I think a party that changes their plank posistions throughout their history can not be trusted....thats why I think this little peice of history (from www.sp-usa-org)will help you get to know and maybe appreciate the SPUSA.